Tag Archives: Jesus

John MacArthur – Avoiding a Spiritual Identity Crisis

John MacArthur

God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

Many people in our society are on a seemingly endless and often frantic quest for personal identity and self- worth. Identity crises are common at almost every age level. Superficial love and fractured relationships are but symptoms of our failure to resolve the fundamental issues of who we are, why we exist, and where we’re going. Sadly, most people will live and die without ever understanding God’s purpose for their lives.

That is tragic, yet understandable. God created man to bear His image and enjoy His fellowship forever. But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they violated that purpose and plunged the human race into sin. That created within man a spiritual void and an identity crisis of unimaginable proportions.

Throughout the ages ungodly people have tried to fill that void with a myriad of substitutes but ultimately all is lost to death and despair.

Despite that bleak picture, a true sense of identity is available to every Christian. It comes from knowing that God Himself personally selected you to be His child. Before the world began, God set his love upon you and according to His plan Christ died for you (1 Pet. 1:20). That’s why you responded in faith to the gospel (2 Thess. 2:13). Also, that’s why you can never lose your salvation. The same God who drew you to Himself will hold you there securely (John 10:29).

Don’t allow sin, Satan, or circumstances to rob your sense of identity in Christ. Make it the focus of everything you do. Remember who you are: God’s child; why you are here: to serve and glorify Him; and where you are going: to spend eternity in His presence.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for choosing you to be His child and for drawing you to Himself in saving faith.

Praise Him for His promise never to let you go.

For Further Study:

Read John 6:35-44; 10:27-30; Romans 8:31-39

According to Jesus, how many believers will lose their salvation? What was his reasoning?

What did Paul base his certainty on?

Joyce Meyer – Trust God Completely

Joyce meyer

In You, O Lord, do I put my trust. —Psalm 31:1

I remember when God told me to quit my full-time job where I was making very good money. He began to deal with me, saying, “You’re going to have to put that down and stay home and prepare for ministry.”

I didn’t obey quickly because I was afraid to leave my job. After all, how did I even know for sure that I was hearing from God? He continued dealing with me so I finally tried to make a deal with Him, saying, “I won’t work full-time, but I’ll work part-time.”

So I went to work part-time because I was afraid to trust God completely. Dave and I didn’t have as much income as we had before, but I found we could survive on less money than we had previously. We had to cut down on expenses, but we were able to pay our bills. I also had more time to prepare for ministry. This seemed like a good plan, but it was not God’s plan.

I learned that God doesn’t want to make “deals” and I ended up getting fired from my part-time job. I was a good worker and had never been fired from a job before. Even though I didn’t like my circumstances, I was finally where God wanted me to be all along—totally dependent on Him.

Without a job, I had to learn to trust God for every little thing I needed. For six years, we needed divine intervention each month just to be able to pay our bills, but during that time I learned a lot about God’s faithfulness. He always provided and what we learned through our experience enabled us to trust Him for the resources we now need to run an international ministry. I encourage you to obey God completely and don’t try to make deals with Him because they never work.

God’s word for you today: When we negotiate with God, we never win.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – An Open Line to God

dr_bright

“And we are sure of this, that He will listen to us whenever we ask Him for anything in line with His will. And if we really know He is listening when we talk to Him and make our requests, then we can be sure that He will answer us” (John 5:14,15).

John, chairman of the board of deacons in a large, successful church, refused to respond – though hundreds of others did – to my invitation to be filled with the Holy Spirit by faith.

Following the meeting, he came to me in tears.

“I have dedicated and rededicated my life to Christ many, many times, always to no avail,” he said. “I didn’t dare respond to your invitation, because I knew I would fail again.”

I explained that my invitation was different. “God’s power to live a holy life and be a fruitful witness is released by faith, based on His faithfulness and the authority of God’s Word.”

When John understood this, he responded enthusiastically and prayed, asking God to fill him with His Spirit. His life was changed, as have been thousands of others as they have come to understand how to be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit by faith moment by moment, day by day.

On the basis of His command to be filled (Ephesians 5:18) and His promise that if we ask for anything in accordance with God’s will, He will hear and answer us (1 John 5:14,15), we know that we can be filled with the Holy Spirit – as a way of life.

Bible Reading: Matthew 7:7-11

Today’s Action Point: I will humble myself before the Lord and tell Him that I want to live a holy life, that I want to be a man/woman of God. I will surrender the control of my life to Christ, turn from all known sin, and by faith on the basis of His command and His promise, receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. By faith, I expect to live the supernatural, Spirit-empowered life in a moment-by-moment, day-by-day dependence on the Holy Spirit.

Presidential Prayer Team; G.C. – What Matters

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When you were young, you were taught that the world is made up of small particles of matter called atoms. That leads to another question: what are atoms made of? Answering that query still drives the scientific community today. Based on science, everything in the world is made of atoms; atoms are made of electrons and nuclei; nuclei are made of protons and neutrons; and protons and neutrons are made up of quarks and gluons.

Give as alms those things that are within.

Luke 11:41

Similarly, the Bible teaches that for those desiring to please God, what you’re made of matters…and it comes from inside the heart; a heart made of faith. Faith, in turn, is made from choosing to believe in things that cannot be seen. Not things like quarks and gluons, but things like God’s consuming love for all mankind and the graceful sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ for you personally.

What’s in your heart today? Do you have a heart made of unbelief and fear, or do your offer up faith in conviction that God is good and at work carrying out His plans? Ultimately, what’s inside is all you have to offer back to God, your family and America. Trust Him for your loved ones, your future, and for the nation!

Recommended Reading: Hebrews 11:1-10

 

 

 

Greg Laurie – Contemplating the Cross

greglaurie

Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. —1 Corinthians 15:57

I heard about a man who tried to start his own religion but soon found that it didn’t go so well. He decided to approach the French statesman Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-érigord and ask him what he should do to gain converts. The statesman told him, “I recommend that you get yourself crucified, die, and then rise again on the third day.”

Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection on the third day is the cornerstone of the Christian faith. It is what sets our faith as Christians apart from the faith of all others. Yet many view Christ’s crucifixion as a rude interruption of what was an otherwise successful ministry. But the cross was at the forefront of the mind of Jesus Christ from the very beginning. This is where He knew He was headed, and He spoke of it often. The Bible even tells us that before He even came to this earth, a decision was made that He would ultimately go to the cross. Scripture calls Him “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8 NLT).

It was at the cross that the righteous demands of God were satisfied. It was at the cross that God and humanity were reconciled once again. It was at the cross that a decisive blow was dealt against Satan and his minions. It was at the cross that our very salvation was purchased. Therefore, we can’t talk about the cross too much — or contemplate it too often.                

Max Lucado – Joy Within Your Reach

Max Lucado

There’s a delicious gladness that comes from God. A joy which consequences cannot quench.  His is a peace which circumstances cannot steal.

Nine times he promises it.  And he promises it to an unlikely crowd: The poor in spirit. Those who mourn. The meek. Those who hunger and thirst.  The merciful. The pure in heart. The peacemakers. The persecuted. It is to this band of pilgrims that God promises a special blessing. A heavenly joy.

But this joy is not cheap. What Jesus promises is not a gimmick to give you goose bumps or a mental attitude. No, Matthew Chapter 5 describes God’s radical reconstruction of the heart. It’s no casual shift of attitude. It’s a demolition of the old structure and a creation of the new.

God’s joy.  And it’s within your reach.  You are one decision away from joy!

From The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – Getting Your Life Back on Course

Charles Stanley

Hebrews 12:1-3

Do you ever feel as if your life has gone a bit off course? Maybe you were making your way just fine, but all of a sudden, you weren’t sure which way to turn. Now and again, all of us face circumstances when our spiritual sense of direction seems unclear. Fortunately, though, Hebrews 12:1-3 lays out a clear plan for getting back on track after we’ve made some missteps.

First, we’re to “lay aside every encumbrance.” Here, encumbrance literally means “weight.” In other words, we should remove anything from our life that is weighing us down. Stress, guilt, fear, shame, and regret are just a few of the burdens that can break our backs as we strive to move forward in the Lord. We will simply never go far when we’re dragging around so much baggage.

Second, we are to lay aside “the sin which so easily entangles us.” Have you ever felt completely powerless because of your sin? When left unattended, it grows like a wild vine. Sin may start small but can completely overtake you unless it’s rooted out early.

Third, we are to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” That means we should stay focused, and if we fall, get back up and carry on. With the determination of an Olympic athlete, we press on with our eyes on the goal, despite the obstacles and distractions.

Even when we feel lost, we can be sure God has a specific plan for our life. He knows where we’ve been, He knows where we are, and He knows where we’re going. The course has been laid before us, and Jesus stands waiting at the finish line.

Our Daily Bread — The Night No One Came

Our Daily Bread

Matthew 6:1-7

Do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. —Matthew 6:1

One winter night composer Johann Sebastian Bach was scheduled to debut a new composition. He arrived at the church expecting it to be full. Instead, he learned that no one had come. Without missing a beat, Bach told his musicians that they would still perform as planned. They took their places, Bach raised his baton, and soon the empty church was filled with magnificent music.

This story made me do some soul-searching. Would I write if God were my only audience? How would my writing be different?

New writers are often advised to visualize one person they are writing to as a way of staying focused. I do this when I write devotionals; I try to keep readers in mind because I want to say something they will want to read and that will help them on their spiritual journey.

I doubt that the “devotional writer” David, whose psalms we turn to for comfort and encouragement, had “readers” in mind. The only audience he had in mind was God.

Whether our “deeds,” mentioned in Matthew 6, are works of art or acts of service, we should keep in mind that they’re really between us and God. Whether or not anyone else sees does not matter. He is our audience. —Julie Ackerman Link

That my ways might show forth Your glory,

That You, dear Lord, greatly deserve!

With Your precious blood You’ve redeemed me—

In all my days, You I would serve! —Somerville

Serve for an audience of one.

Bible in a year: Genesis 16-17; Matthew 5:27-48

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Waiting for Light

Ravi Z

In ancient cities, sentinels kept vigil on the city walls throughout the night. Long, difficult hours of waiting and watching characterized the sentinel’s evenings. The watcher’s role was well understood as vital for the protection of the city and the welfare of its citizens. Morning, nonetheless, meant great relief, both for the watchmen who kept vigil throughout the darkness and for the city within the walls.

Making use of this laden imagery, biblical writers often juxtaposed the role of watchman waiting for morning and the work of the prophet. Through long, dark hours of slavery and exile, stubbornness and despair, the prophets kept watch, calling out injustices, calling forth awareness, peace, and repentance. Jeremiah cried out, “This is what the LORD says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’” Isaiah expanded the imagery of the sentinel’s watch even further, suggesting watchful eyes throughout the kingdom of God, servants who hold vigil day and night, watching for light even when presently surrounded by darkness. “Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices, together they sing for joy; for in plain sight they see the return of the Lord to Zion.”(1)

An old man in Jerusalem named Simeon was one such sentinel. All that is known of him is that he was righteous and devout, and looked forward to the consolation of his broken land. Led by the Spirit one day, he went to the temple to offer the customary sacrifice, when he noticed an infant in the arms of a young, peasant woman. Taking the baby in his arms, he began to sing:

“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,

according to your word;

for my eyes have seen your salvation,

which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

a light for revelation to the Gentiles

and for glory to your people Israel.”(2)

A watchman who had kept vigil through long years of darkness, Simeon sees the infant Jesus in plain sight and uses the language of a slave who has been freed. There is a sense of immediacy and relief, as if the light of morning has finally arrived after years of shadow and night, and he is at last free to leave his post.

Today is Epiphany, the historical Christian feast day that celebrates the arrival of the magi to the birthplace of Jesus, and it tells a similar story. Matthew describes a vigilant scene not unlike that of Simeon at the temple or sentinels on the city wall. Astrologers from the east followed a lone star through a great expanse of darkness to come upon a newborn king. Their watchful journey took years. It impelled further darkness as Herod’s jealousy reared an evil demand for the murder of infant boys throughout Bethlehem. It was a solitary journey, disregarded by the masses and wrought with difficulty. But the light was real and relieving. “Nations shall come to your light,” sang the prophet of this child, “and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isaiah 60:3).

With those who first watched and waited for God to step from the heavens and into our darkness, the feast of Epiphany is a reminder that ours is still a world straining in shadow, with our glimpses of light, waiting. Like those who first journeyed to set their eyes on the child, we move through long nights, at times finding ourselves out of place, in the dark, straining to see more. The Christian story is a declaration that Jesus transforms this watching and waiting, our lives and our deaths, bringing light where death stings, where tears discourage, and darkness haunts. “I wait for the Lord,” sang the psalmist, “my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” The night is surely long, but what if the light is real?

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) cf. Jeremiah 6:16-17, Isaiah 52:8.

(2) Story told in Luke 2:26-32

Alistair Begg – “Lord, Grant Me Divine Communion”

Alistair Begg

Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me the evening before . . .

Ezekiel 33:22

In the matter of judgment this may be the case, and if so, let me consider the reason for such a visitation and accept it as from His hand. I am not the only one who is chastened in the night season; let me cheerfully submit to the affliction and carefully endeavor to profit by it.

But the hand of the Lord may also be felt in another manner, strengthening the soul and lifting the spirit upward toward eternal things. O that I may in this sense feel the Lord dealing with me! A sense of the divine presence and indwelling bears the soul toward heaven as upon the wings of eagles.

At such times we are full to the brim with spiritual joy, and forget the cares and sorrows of earth; the invisible is near, and the visible loses its power over us. Servant-body waits at the foot of the hill, and the master-spirit worships upon the summit in the presence of the Lord. O that a hallowed season of divine communion may be granted to me this evening! The Lord knows that I need it very greatly.

My graces languish, my corruptions rage, my faith is weak, my devotion is cold; all these are reasons why His healing hand should be laid upon me. His hand can cool the heat of my burning brow and calm the turmoil of my palpitating heart. That glorious right hand that molded the world can renew my mind; the unwearied hand that bears the earth’s huge pillars can sustain my spirit; the loving hand that encloses all the saints can cherish me; and the mighty hand that breaks in pieces the enemy can subdue my sins.

Why should I not feel that hand touching me this evening? Come, my soul, address God with the potent plea that Jesus’ hands were pierced for your redemption, and you shall surely feel that same hand upon you that once touched Daniel and set him upon his knees that he might see visions of God.

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Life for a look

CharlesSpurgeon

“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Isaiah 45:22

Suggested Further Reading: Acts 26:1-29

Six years ago, today, as nearly as possible at this very hour of the day, I was “in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity,” but had yet, by divine grace, been led to feel the bitterness of that bondage, and to cry out by reason of the soreness of its slavery. Seeking rest, and finding none, I stepped within the house of God, and sat there, afraid to look upward, lest I should be utterly cut off, and lest his fierce wrath should consume me. The minister rose in his pulpit, and, as I have done this morning, read this text—“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” I looked that moment; the grace of faith was vouchsafed to me in the self-same instant; and now I think I can say with truth:

“E’er since by faith I saw the stream His flowing wounds supply,

Redeeming love has been my theme, And shall be till I die.”

I shall never forget that day, while memory holds its place; nor can I help repeating this text, whenever I remember that hour when first I knew the Lord. How strangely gracious! How wonderfully and marvellously kind, that he who heard these words so little time ago for his own soul’s profit, should now address you from the same text, in the full and confident hope that some poor sinner may hear the glad tidings of salvation for himself also, and may today, on this 6th of January, be “turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.”

For meditation: Even if you cannot pinpoint an exact time or place, can you recall your conversion when the Lord Jesus Christ became real to you and you trusted him to be your Saviour? If you can, are the memories of that great event still as precious as they should be? If you have no such memories, Spurgeon, though dead, speaks to you today. Read again his testimony, obey his text and look to his Saviour so that you too may be saved.

Sermon no. 60

6 January (1856)

John MacArthur – Identifying with Christ

John MacArthur

“God…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3, emphasis added).

Many people mistakenly believe that one’s religious preference is irrelevant because all religions eventually lead to the same spiritual destination.

Such thinking is sheer folly, however, because Scripture declares that no one comes to God apart from Jesus (John 14:6). He is the only source of salvation (Acts 4:12) and the only One powerful enough to redeem us and hold us secure forever (John 10:28).

Every Christian shares a common supernatural union with Christ. Paul said, “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cor. 6:17). We are in Him and He is in us. His life flows through us by His Spirit, who indwells us (Rom. 8:9).

As a non-Christian, you were in bondage to evil (Rom. 3:10-12), enslaved to the will of Satan (1 John 5:19), under divine wrath (Rom. 1:18), spiritually dead (Eph. 4:17-18), and without hope (Eph. 2:12). But at the moment of your salvation a dramatic change took place. You became a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), alive in Him (Eph. 2:5), enslaved to God (Rom. 6:22), and a recipient of divine grace (Eph. 2:8). You were delivered out of the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col. 1:13). You now possess His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) and share in His eternal inheritance (Rom. 8:16-17).

All those blessings–and many more–are yours because you are in Christ. What a staggering reality! In a sense what He is, you are. What He has, you have. Where He is, you are.

When the Father sees you, He sees you in Christ and blesses you accordingly. When others see you, do they see Christ in you? “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

Suggestions for Prayer:

Thank God for His marvelous grace in taking you from spiritual death to spiritual life in Christ.

Ask Him for wisdom and discernment to live this day for His good pleasure.

For Further Study:

Read the book of Ephesians, noting every occurrence of the phrase “in Christ.”

What has God accomplished in Christ?

What blessings are yours in Christ?

Joyce Meyer – Start With What You Have

Joyce meyer

Do not say to your neighbor, Go, and come again; and tomorrow I will give it. —Proverbs 3:28

We can have good intentions and still be disobedient. Procrastination is very deceptive.

We don’t see it as disobedience because we intend to obey God; it is just that we are going to do it when— when we have more money, when we are not so busy, as soon as Christmas is over, after we get the kids in school this year, as soon as vacation is over, etc.

There is no point in praying for God to give you more money so you can be a blessing to others if you are not being a blessing with what you already have. Don’t believe Satan’s lies that you have nothing to give. Even if it is only a pack of gum or a ballpoint pen, start using what you have to bless others.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.H. – Fair Play

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Imagine an invincible sword – one never to be beaten. Sound like a fantasy-based video game? It’s actually from the annals of history. At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Boris Onischenko held just such a sword. After registering unbelievable hits in each of his fencing matches, an opponent called foul play. Onischenko was fencing with a tampered sword wired with an electronic device to register a hit…even when he hadn’t touched his opponent! He was expelled from the games and stripped of his medals.

The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:17

The apostle Paul shares in today’s verse about a similar sword, one that will win in any spiritual battle – only this one is fair play. The Word of God is just such a weapon…and while hiding it in your heart will help you live an upright life (Psalm 119:11), God’s Word can actually be used defensively in the ultimate battle: Jesus used the sword of the spirit in His temptation with the devil, saying, “It is written…” then quoted scripture.

You’ve been given a formidable weapon. Ask God to give both you and the Christians in political office wisdom as you use His Word to arm for battle.

Recommended Reading: Matthew 4:1-11

Greg Laurie – By Faith We walk by faith, not by sight. —2 Corinthians 5:7

greglaurie

The inspired writers of Scripture did not use the phrase walk by faith in a random way. Those three words are there for a purpose. Notice that the Bible doesn’t tell us to sprint by faith; it tells us to walk by faith. To walk speaks of continual, regulated motion. The Bible says Enoch walked with God. Many believers have their bursts of energy. For a few months, they run. Then they collapse for a while. They need to learn what it is to walk with God.

Of course, most of us like things fast. We have microwave dinners, e-mail, cell phones, and instant messaging. We have so much technology to make our lives a little easier and, most importantly, faster. Then, when we come to the Christian life, we say, “All right, what’s the angle? What’s the shortcut?”

Here it is: “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). It’s a day-by-day process.

We are always looking for the angle, for the inside track. But it’s very simple. The Bible declares that the just shall live by faith — not by feeling, not by emotion, not by fear, not by worries — by faith.

I know sometimes that it seems like nothing is happening in terms of our spiritual growth. There are times when we don’t really feel like we are changing, because as we look at ourselves every day, we don’t necessarily see any changes. But as we are walking by faith day by day, month by month, and year by year, we are being transformed.

Colossians 2:6 tells us, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”

 

Max Lucado – Sacred Delight

Max Lucado

He should have been miserable.  He should have been bitter. He had every right to be a pot of boiling anger. But he wasn’t. Jesus embodied a stubborn joy!

What is this stubborn joy?  This bird that sings while it’s still dark?  What is the source of this peace that defies pain? I call it sacred delight. What is sacred is God’s!  And this joy is God’s.

Sacred delight is good news coming through the back door of your heart.  It’s the too-good-to-be-true coming true. It’s having God as your lawyer, your dad, your biggest fan, and your best friend.  It’s hope where you least expected it—a flower in life’s sidewalk.

It is sacred because only God can grant it. It is a delight because it thrills. It can’t be stolen.  It can’t be predicted. It is God’s sacred delight!

The Applause of Heaven

Charles Stanley – Why is it wise to wait on God?

Charles Stanley

It is always wise to wait on God. Why?

First, it is wise to wait because God gives clear direction only when we are willing to wait. Remember, we don’t operate like the world operates. Instant gratification of need defines society. But we, as believers, live differently. We don’t take our cues from the world. We take them from God. He will give us clear direction, whether it is guidance for making a move or changing a career or choosing a mate. However, much to the distress of many, He seldom does it quickly. We must wait until He is ready to give direction.

God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Ps. 32:8). We must wait until He is ready to give counsel to us. I know it’s hard. No one ever said it would be easy. However, it is absolutely worth it.

Second, it is wise to wait because God uses that waiting time to get us in step with His timing. Being in step with the Father’s timing gives us a sense of peace. However, when we run ahead of Him, we will constantly be trying to figure out how to make our decisions work. Instead of peace, we will feel the chaos of our choices.

Third, it is always wise to wait because God uses the time of waiting to prepare us for the answer. As earthly parents, we don’t give our children everything they ask for. Sometimes we know that the timing isn’t right. How much more our heavenly Father knows this for His children. He waits until we are able to handle the blessing with grace and trust.

Fourth, it is always wise to wait because waiting strengthens our faith. We might want to say, “Okay, God. I’ve learned as much faith as I care to. You can act now.” But when we realize that God is more interested in our character than in our comfort, waiting is a lot more palatable.

Fifth, it is always wise to wait because God gets our attention and sifts our motives. While waiting and praying for the promotion at work, we have time to think through our motives. Why do we really want that promotion? Do we want it to get more money or so others will think we are powerful? Could it be we want the promotion so we have a greater platform to serve the Lord? If we allow God to sift through our motives, the truth will surface—good or bad. It is amazing what we learn about ourselves through this waiting period.

So it is wise to wait because:

1. He gives clear direction.

2. He gets us in step with Himself.

3. He prepares us for what He has in store for us.

4. He strengthens our faith.

5. He gets our attention and sifts our motives.

Waiting is one of the more difficult things in the Christian life. However, it is never wasted time. God teaches us His path, changes our circumstances, keeps us in step with Himself, prepares us for His answers, and uses times of waiting to sift our motives and strengthen our faith.

The question comes: With all the advantages of waiting, why do we rush ahead as if we don’t have a trustworthy Father? We need to hit the pause button in our lives and take our lives out of the fast forward mode. God will amaze us with what He is doing while we wait on Him and watch Him work.

Adapted from Charles Stanley’s Handbook for Christian Living,” 1996.

 

Related Resources

Related Audio

When is it wise to wait?

Waiting is one of the more difficult things in the Christian life. However, it is never wasted time. God teaches us His path, changes our circumstances, keeps us in step with Himself, prepares us for His answers, and uses times of waiting to sift our motives and strengthen our faith. (Listen to When is it wise to wait?)

 

 

Our Daily Bread — Adoption

Our Daily Bread

Ephesians 1:3-12

He chose us in Him . . . having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself. —Ephesians 1:4-5

My wife, Marlene, and I have been married for over 35 years. When we were first dating, we had a conversation I have never forgotten. She told me that at 6 months old she had been adopted. When I asked her if she ever wondered about who her real parents were, she responded, “My mom and dad could have selected any of a number of other babies that day, but they chose me. They adopted me. They are my real parents.”

That strong sense of identification and gratitude she has for her adoptive parents should also mark our relationship with God. As followers of Christ, we have been born from above through faith in Him and have been adopted into the family of God. Paul wrote, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5).

Notice the nature of this transaction. We have been chosen by God and adopted as His sons and daughters. Through adoption, we have a radically new relationship with God. He is our beloved Father!

May this relationship stir our hearts to worship Him—our Father—with gratitude. —Bill Crowder

Loving Father, thank You for making me

Your child and giving me a place in

Your family. With a grateful heart, I

thank You for making me Yours.

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. —Augustine

Bible in a year: Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26

 

Alistair Begg – Take Comfort in God’s Light

Alistair Begg

And God saw that the light was good.

Genesis 1:4

This morning we noticed the goodness of the light, and the Lord’s dividing it from the darkness. We now note the special eye that the Lord had for the light. “God saw the light”–He looked at it with complacency, gazed upon it with pleasure, saw that it “was good.” If the Lord has given you light, dear reader, He looks on that light with peculiar interest; for not only is it dear to Him as His own handiwork, but it is like Himself, for “God is light.”

It is pleasant for the believer to know that God’s eye tenderly observes that work of grace that He has begun. He never loses sight of the treasure that He has placed in our earthen vessels. Sometimes we cannot see the light, but God always sees the light, and that is much better than our seeing it. Better for the judge to see my innocence than for me to think I see it. It is very comfortable for me to know that I am one of God’s people–but whether I know it or not, if the Lord knows it, I am still safe. This is the foundation, “The Lord knows those who are his.” 1

You may be sighing and groaning because of inbred sin, and mourning over your darkness; yet the Lord sees “light” in your heart, for He has put it there, and all the cloudiness and gloom of your soul cannot conceal your light from His gracious eye.

You may have sunk low in despondency, and even despair; but if your soul has any longing toward Christ, and if you are seeking to rest in His finished work, God sees the “light.” He not only sees it, but He also preserves it in you. “I, the Lord, do keep it.” This is a precious thought to those who, after anxious watching and guarding of themselves, feel their own powerlessness to do so. The light thus preserved by His grace, He will one day develop into the splendor of noonday, and the fullness of glory. The light within is the dawn of the eternal day.

1 2 Timothy 2:19

 

Charles Spurgeon – A sermon for the week of prayer

CharlesSpurgeon

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2

Suggested Further Reading: Luke 18:1-8

Continue in prayer once more, because prayer is a great weapon of attack against the error and wickedness of the world. I see before me the strong bastions of the castle of sin. I note the host of men who have surrounded it. They have brought the battering-ram, they have dashed it many times against the gate; it has fallen with tremendous force against it, and you would have supposed that the timbers would be split asunder the first time. But they are staunch and strong; he who made them was a cunning architect, he who depends upon them for his protection is one who knew how to make the gate exceeding massive,—is one who knew the struggle full well which he would have to endure—prince of darkness as he is. If he knew of his defeat, yet well he knew how to guard against it if it were possible. But I see this ponderous battering-ram as it has been hurled with giant force again and again upon the gate, and how as often seemed to recoil before the massive bars. Many of the saints of God are ready to say, “Let us withdraw the instrument. Let us take away the besieging artillery, we shall never be able to storm this castle, we shall never effect an entrance.” Oh, be not craven, sirs, be not craven. The last time the battering-ram thundered in its course, I saw the timbers shake. The very gate did reel, and the posts did rock to and fro; see now they have moved the earth around their sockets. Hell is howling from within because it knows how soon its end must come. Now, Christian warriors, use your battering-rams once more, for the gates begin to shake, and the walls are tottering. They will reel, they will fall before long.

For meditation: Are your prayers stuck in defensive mode as you seek God’s protection? Does your prayer-life ever venture out on the attack? Remember the Saviour’s powerful promise that the gates of hell would be unable to stand up against the advance of his church (Matthew 16:18). May these words before a special week of prayer encourage us to continue in prayer all year round.

Sermon no. 354

5 January (Preached 6 January 1861)